Erick Bennett plans to run against Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) next year. But this early in the campaign trail, he has already found himself at the center of controversy after calling sitting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) a “homo” during a pro-gun Facebook tirade last week.
Bennett posted on Facebook last week that gun confiscation could “easily happen” in Maine thanks to the state’s elected representatives. He then went on to call out Michaud, who just came out as gay last month, by name, calling him “a closet homo in DC who voted to discriminate against same sex couples”:
Bennett later rebuked commentors who called him out for the slur, pointing out in one of many subsequent comments that the term “is short for HOMOsexual. It is a REAL word that in context means a person who engages in sexual activities with the SAME sex. Don’t allow political correctness to rob you of even the simplest things.” GLAAD, however, advises people against using the term “homo” or “homosexual,” because it refers to the clinical diagnosis of gayness as a disorder, and the derived form “homo” has long been used as a slur against gay people.
Michaud, who is running for Governor of Maine, came out in an op-ed last month, saying that, yes, he is gay, “But why should it matter?” It’s unclear what about his record makes Michaud untrustworthy by Bennett’s measure. The Congressman has received a 95 rating on the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard, losing points only for not co-sponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act.
Bennett has been castigated by Maine’s Republican party for his comment. The state’s Republican Party chairman, Rick Bennett, told the Bangor Daily News, “I can say categorically he’s not related to me in any way, by family or viewpoint.”
But it is not the first time that Bennett has offended gays and lesbians. Last year, he published an opinion piece asserting that same-sex marriage is “a cover to allow politicians to grow government” and makes the institution “meaningless.”